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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Best Of? Really?

Dan Lorenzo - Best of 3
Dan Lorenzo
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Are you flippin' serious?  Dan Lorenzo has the nads to dump a "Best Of" mini anthology on us?  And I thought The Best of A Flock of Seagulls was a goddamn joke.

Alright, I'm just dicking on ol' Dan From Hades here because I'm relying on a long-established rapport that he'll take my opening jibe as the ribbing it's intended to be.  Dan has seven years on me and he'd still dust my ass on a middle school b-ball court, so now we're even.

Hades, Non-Fiction and The Cursed are where you've mostly found this dude jerking distortion, but in case you missed it, Dan Lorenzo tossed out a trio of homegrown solo records:  Nice Being Alone, Cassius King and Cut From a Different Cloth all released in a span of thirteen months.  You either consider that prolific or the case of hyper-anxiety only a box of Twinkies can quell. 

These days, Lorenzo reigns the masthead of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine while he's occasionally stepped out of the shadows to hit a handful of Hades and Non-Fiction reunion gigs.  The thing I like about Dan Lorenzo is he keeps his head in check.  His associated bands are cult groups with heavy followings, but when you'd rather shoot hoops than play guitar as Lorenzo has stated numerous times including the liner notes of Best of 3, then you have to dig that.  There are too many third-tier bands (pick your genre) who cling to their notoriety with far more seriousness than they should.  Just listen to Lorenzo goofing on said status-clingers on his quasi-rap-metal hybrid, "I'll Go North."  Seriously, when's the last time you heard anybody in the music biz say they'd rather pass the rock than rock out?

Best of 3 wrangles a smackerel of tracks from Dan Lorenzo's solo records along with three new cuts including a cover of Kiss' "Almost Human."  If you know Lorenzo's work, you're no doubt groaning to yourself, "Oh, Christ, another fucking Kiss cover..."  Sorry, Dan, just dicking on you again.  Mad love, homes.

Lorenzo's retrospective leans heavily on selections from his sold-out Cut From a Different Cloth album including "1974," "I'll Go North," "Back From Nice" and Dan's personal favorite solo cut, "Clintonesque."  The latter song sports Lorenzo sparring against a drum machine, and if you've never heard this mean-assed ditty, it's pretty gnarly stuff that even Rob Zombie could trip on.  Yeah, I said it.

Of the three new tracks, "What I Like" is the coolest even if it makes one think of 2 Live Crew with some meaty guitar chops and a white frontman barging in for most of the ride.  Okay, 2 Live Crew went the way of "def," granted, but at least Lorenzo's greasy licks and his not-so-serious scat-yelling is hilarious--and not in the negative connotation.  You know, it's gonzo shit like "F-Bombs For Everyone" from Nice Being Alone, which of course makes an appearance on Best of 3.  If that one didn't make it here, I'd burn my Dan Lorenzo t-shirt on the spot...never mind it was a freebie, thank you, sir.

Admitted Kiss freak that he is, Lorenzo does a snazzy job lick-wise on "Almost Human," but you can imagine Gene Simmons muttering "oy" underneath his demon paint listening to Lorenzo's growl-choked vocals along with the campy (and sickly) background chants of the chorus.  Lorenzo pulls down a cool Frehley wail on the solo, so all's well that know.  Dan does a pretty rowdy rip of "Goin' Blind" on Nice Being Alone, so shag it down sometime.  If you're too lazy for that, at least the inclusion of "1974" on this album gives you full indication just how much Kiss has touched Lorenzo's life and guitar playing.

One thing that rings loud and clear on Best of 3 in case you didn't know it already, Dan Lorenzo lives by his rules and his rules-busting solo music obviously served as an excuse to let loose a few of his internally-caged animals.  The booming strutter "Cassius King" is one of my favorite of Lorenzo's solo tunes and though no profitable radio station would play it, a decent one should.  The gritty riffs of "Cassius King" alone blow away the entire collective of waterlogged pseudo-metal FM darlings you can count in hourly rotation...all eight of them.

Current Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki laid down grooves on many of Lorenzo's solo tracks, sharing the stool with Johnny Milnes.  Keeping it in the family, as it were.  You know, that Blitz cat and Dan Lorenzo were saddlemates in The Cursed?  If you don't, you're lame.  Interesting that Lorenzo didn't bring "Too Fast For Hate" from Nice Being Alone onto this package since Bobby Ellsworth laid down some vocal work on it, but if you trip across Lorenzo over at Dingbatz, you can bring that up to him in person.

However this review may come across to you, what I have to say about Dan Lorenzo in all sincerity is that he's a hell of a nice dude.  I've appreciated his generosity towards me in the way of freebies, donating his words here at this site and for allowing me to plug my own wares in Steppin' Out magazine.  Go on, pick this up.  It doesn't occupy your time for too long and Dan Lorenzo just might record music again if you do.  No potshots in endpoint.



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